Monday, May 18, 2015 saw the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversing itself in the closely watched case of Garcia v. Google. The earlier decision caused a lot of consternation around the copyright world, especially in Hollywood. The previous three judge panel ruled, for the first time, that an actor had a copyright in her individual performance in a motion picture. Nova Southeastern University's Copyright Officer, Stephen Carlisle, J.D., takes an in depth look at the legal controversy over the film Innocence of Muslims, and what this decision means for Hollywood and copyright in the future.
Star Wars and Mickey Mouse have something in common, and it’s not that the Walt Disney Company owns them both. Both of these iconic properties came close to not existing at all, and it was the restrictions of copyright law that forced Walt Disney and George Lucas to put their creative energies to work to breathe life into these world famous classics. Nova Southeastern University's Copyright Officer, Stephen Carlisle, J.D., goes behind the scenes, and once again shows how creative restrictions can be good for you.
Pirate streaming site Grooveshark closed its operations last week rather than face the prospect that its founders would be personally liable for potentially $736 million dollars in damages. Two separate courts had issued summary judgements against them, with one Court noting that Grooveshark had sent out over 36 million music streams without payment or license. How did they stay in business for nearly 10 years? By hiding behind the DMCA safe harbor provisions, of course. Nova Southeastern University's Copyright Officer, Stephen Carlisle, J.D., takes you through the facts and findings of the two judgements and suggests how future Groovesharks can be prevented.
We’ve all heard the pirates' excuses for illegally downloading copyrighted material: it’s too expensive, it’s not available in my country when it’s available in others, etc. Google, for its part, keeps saying that if low cost, convenient alternatives were available, piracy would be greatly reduced. Well, HBO NOW just called their bluff: low cost, available across the United States, and with a free trial! Nova Southeastern University's Copyright Officer, Stephen Carlisle, J.D., takes a look at the interesting results that occur when you take away all the excuses.
The case of Adjmi v. DLT Entertainment pitted the production company behind the 1970’s sitcom Three’s Company against the play 3C, which it contended illegally copied many aspects of the popular sitcom. Once again, a Court ignores the rights of the author to control derivative works under the Copyright Act, and seems to think that by declaring a work "transformative," all other contrary considerations must be swept aside. Nova Southeastern University's Copyright Officer, Stephen Carlisle, J.D., goes through the decisions and points out the fallacies and how “transformative” use leads us down a dangerous road that negates an entire section of the Copyright Act.
Streaming is supposed to be the future of the music business. There’s only one problem. None of the streaming services make a profit. Not only do Pandora, Spotify and yes, even YouTube lose tons of money every year, none of them have ever made a profit. Even worse, as the revenue goes up, the losses get bigger. Nova Southeastern University's Copyright Officer, Stephen Carlisle J.D., takes a look at the numbers and discovers that there is a rather simple solution to the streaming companies' profit problem.
The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals recently issued what looked to be a significant ruling. There, for the first time, a Court of Appeals was going to decide whether the tactics of so-called “copyright trolls” were reasonable when considering whether to award prevailing party attorneys' fees to a successful BitTorrent defendant. However, the language and procedure that the Court of Appeals utilized leaves one with the impression that not much has been clarified. Nova Southeastern University's Copyright Officer, Stephen Carlisle J.D., digs into both the trial and appellate opinions to explain why the impact of the decision is less than certain.
Welcome to the strange world of “Let’s Play” videos. These videos merely show someone playing a video game with part of the screen devoted to the video game and the rest to the gamer, recording their reactions and commentary. And it’s big business, with one gamer earning over $4 million a year. How is this possible? Nova Southeastern University's Copyright Officer, Stephen Carlisle, J.D., explains the method and marketing behind the madness and how copyright issues question the legality of the business.
Earlier this year, there was another skirmish in the long running battle over copyright in recipes. The intriguingly titled case of Tomaydo-Tomahhdo, LLC v. Vozary once again examined the question of: are recipes copyrightable? And if so, what parts? Nova Southeastern University's Copyright Officer, Stephen Carlisle, J.D., takes a look at the law and the cases that arise when someone gets caught with their hands in the recipe cookie jar.
The verdict in the “Blurred Lines” case surprised a lot of people. Many failed to see the level of similarity that the jury did, and felt the case set a bad precedent going forward. Nova Southeastern University's Copyright Officer, Stephen Carlisle, J.D., examines the component parts of the two songs, takes a look at the expert testimony, and explains what it means for music, now and in the future.